Salmonella biofilms program innate immunity for persistence in Caenorhabditis elegans

Stuti K. Desai, Anup Padmanabhan, Sharvari Harshe, Ronen Zaidel-Bar, Linda J. Kenney

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

43 Scopus citations


The adaptive in vivo mechanisms underlying the switch in Salmonella enterica lifestyles from the infectious form to a dormant form remain unknown. We employed Caenorhabditis elegans as a heterologous host to understand the temporal dynamics of Salmonella pathogenesis and to identify its lifestyle form in vivo. We discovered that Salmonella exists as sessile aggregates, or in vivo biofilms, in the persistently infected C. elegans gut. In the absence of in vivo biofilms, Salmonella killed the host more rapidly by actively inhibiting innate immune pathways. Regulatory crosstalk between two major Salmonella pathogenicity islands, SPI-1 and SPI-2, was responsible for biofilm-induced changes in host physiology during persistent infection. Thus, biofilm formation is a survival strategy in long-term infections, as prolonging host survival is beneficial for the parasitic lifestyle.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)12462-12467
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number25
StatePublished - Jun 18 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • Biofilms
  • Carrier state
  • CsgD
  • Salmonella
  • SsrB

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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